Finalist category: Tech Volunteer of the Year
Finalist, Tech Volunteer of the Year Award, 2017
A knight in shining armour
The Collett Special Educational Needs School for children from 4 to 17 years is one of the lowest funded in Hertfordshire.
“Many of our children have no access to IT outside of our school. We currently have a few PCs which have been given to us by Local Authority Primary schools who have discarded them. Steve came like a knight in shining armour to our rescue. Advising us on WiFi, supporting our funding application and even playing and donating Ukuleles to our pupils!”
Highlights from a testimonial about Tech Volunteer of the Year finalist, Steve Smith. Steve started out in the IT industry in 1973 as a Post Office Telecommunications Apprentice. In 1985 Steve co-founded Astro Communications and has been responsible for the design and delivery of many innovative technology solutions.
Since then, he’s been dedicating his spare time to helping charities and good causes to get online. Steve is a key volunteer with the Charity IT Association (CITA).
In the last year, Steve has helped fourteen small charities via CITA and has been the first person to respond every time to special requests. Whether volunteering to present to charities on “technology without a budget” or helping a new charity who had a long list of needs.
“Steve has simply blown us away with his IT expertise, cheerful assistance and endless patience. He has been so incredibly generous, not just with his time, but also his willingness to call on his wider networks to request support on our behalf, and he has personally donated/brokered several additional items of IT equipment that have enabled us to do more than we could ever have dreamed of twelve months ago.
“Because of Steve’s skills and advocacy, not only do we have a fully-modernised learning suite that works seamlessly, we also have two amazing digital whiteboards which have made our group IT sessions so much more engaging and energetic for the people taking part. He’s also introduced me to several other contacts who are helping us broker funding for other projects across London. He also donated (to our young people’s service in West London) a fully refurbished laptop (with all the software) for a young client who is from a highly disadvantaged family background. The young man is just gearing up for his GCSE’s so this is simply invaluable to him and this gesture has the potential to transform his future.
“To say that Steve has been generous beyond the scope of the role is a total understatement; however he is such an unfailingly positive person that we never feel uncomfortable about asking him for help, even though we probably should by now! He is a thoroughly deserving winner in our view.” Cristina Lake, Blenheim.
Nick Claydon, a fellow mentor said, “ He is a remarkable person in that he can use stories of his own experience to engage a wide-range of people from Students to Military Officers with 25 years senior service. He achieves this through his approach of simple messages delivered with humility and honesty.”